News from a World gone mad

yet there is still so much beauty


November 17, 2015

Scientists have found a way to measure the "mystical" effects of psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms

photo credit: Scientists have found a way to measure the “mystical” effects of psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms. Psilocybe Cubensis – Ecuador by afgooey74 via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Ever since LSD was first synthesized back in the 1930s, psychotherapists have been interested in using hallucinogenic drugs to treat a range of mental disorders. However, attempts to do so have struggled to gain widespread support from the medical community, partly because the visionary voyages these substances generate are so idiosyncratic, and therefore difficult to analyze. Yet a team of researchers believe they have now found a way to scientifically study the “mystical experiences” produced by psilocybin-containing mushrooms, potentially opening the door for their use in psychological therapy.

Publishing their findings in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, the team defines “mystical experience” using four central characteristics. These include a sense of “mysticism,” meaning a sensation of sacredness or unity with all things, “positive mood,” “transcendence of time and space,” and “ineffability” – or feeling that the experience is beyond words.

The team of psychiatrists and neuroscientists from the John Hopkins University School of Medicine have developed a 30-item Mystical Experience Questionnaire, called the MEQ30, which addresses all four of these elements and can be used to obtain an overall score to describe the intensity of the mystical experience. This was achieved by analyzing data collected from five laboratory-based experiments, in which a total of 184 participants were given moderate to high doses of psilocybin and asked to describe their experience.

For instance, in order to determine the level of “mysticism,” the MEQ30 asks participants to state how strongly they felt connected to “ultimate reality.” Data relating to “transcendence of space of time,” meanwhile, is extracted from the degree to which participants lost their “usual awareness of where [they] were.”

More crucially, the study authors claim that scores obtained from the MEQ30 can be accurately used to predict the long-term effects of psilocybin use, since the data revealed that those who achieved greater mystical experiences also reported continued improvements in their state of mind further down the line. This builds on previous studiesstudies which have revealed that patients who are deemed to have had a “complete” mystical experience on psilocybin are more likely to feel increased well being or life satisfaction 14 months later

full article at IFL








Huda Shaarawi, Egyptian feminist & activist by KeriLynn Engel

Huda Shaarawi (1879–1947) was an Egyptian feminist who influenced not only women in Egypt but throughout the Arab world. She was a pioneer in feminism, and brought to light the restrictive world of upper-class women in her book The Harem Years, published in 1987.

Huda Shaarawi (also spelled Hoda Shaarawi or Sha’arawi) was raised in the harem system, which kept women secluded and veiled. Very wealthy families would have separate buildings and eunuchs to guard the women and act as their messengers to the outer world. The word “harem” actually refers to the rooms in which the women stayed, separate from the men. All women, rich or poor, went outside veiled, except peasant women in the countryside. Veiling and the harem system were cultural traditions, and were followed by Jewish and Christian women as well as Muslim.

Huda was very well educated from a young age. She was tutored in a variety of subjects and spoke French, Turkish, and Arabic.

At the age of 13, Huda was married to her cousin Ali Pasha Shaarawi. In their marriage contract, he had promised to leave his slave-concubine, but she bore him a child a year after their marriage. Huda separated from him and they remained so for the next 7 years. During this time she was able to be independent, since her father had died when she was young. She extended her education and became involved in activism. As she grew older, her husband, a political activist himself, included her in his political meetings, and often sought her counsel.

Huda Shaarawi, left, with fellow feminist & organize Safia Zaghlul, right

Huda Shaarawi, left, with fellow feminist & organize Safia Zaghlul, right (courtesyWikimedia Commons)

Huda had a hand in many “firsts” for women in Egyptian society. In 1908, she founded the first philanthropic society run by Egyptian women, where they offered services for poor women and children. She believed that having women run such projects would challenge the view that women are created for men’s pleasure and in need of protection. In 1910, she opened a school for girls focused on academics, rather than teaching practical skills like midwifery which was common at the time.

full article over at:AWH all the kick-ass women history leaves out









Cameron Urges Parliament To Back Airstrikes In Syria In Wake Of Paris Attacks

The prime minister said the UK must attack the Syrian city of Raqqa, which he called the “head of the snake”.

Empty homes worth £4.3bn ‘could ease housing crisis’

Boarded up house

Bringing unoccupied homes across Scotland back into use could help ease the shortage of affordable housing, a charity has said.

Shelter Scotland has estimated that at least 27,000 privately-owned homes are lying empty.

But it said government figures showed 150,000 families were on waiting lists.

The charity said it had brought more than 1,200 properties back into use by helping owners sell or refurbish them for rental but that more could be done.

It has estimated the value of homes lying empty across the country at more than £4.3bn, based on the average sale price of houses in Scotland of £160,000.

Ahead of its annual conference the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership (SEHP), which is run by Shelter and funded by the Scottish government, said owners of private homes which had been empty for more than six months should make more of their assets and bring much needed housing stock back into use.

It said the scale of the problem was shown by figures which revealed that 35,764 households made homelessness applications in 2014-15.

full article at : BBC news





















Sainsbury’s OFFICIAL Christmas Advert 2015 – Mog’s Christmas Calamity

the new Sainsbury’s Christmas Advert. Mog sets off a chain of unfortunate events which almost ruin Christmas for the Thomas family. Can she pull it all back to save the day?

The Monster Waves at Nazare, Portugal


The pretty seaside town and resort of Nazaré on the west coast of Portugal remains crowded throughout the summer with tourists who flock to its long sandy beaches to relax, swim and surf. But when winter arrives, only the most serious thrill seekers stay. At this time, the beaches are dangerous. Massive waves up to 100 feet high regularly break along the rocky coastline.

Nazare’s monster waves attract big wave surfers from all around, but until very recently, the town and its surfing potential was relatively unknown outside Europe. Nazare hit headlines only in November 2011 when Hawaiian surfer Garrett McNamara surfed a record breaking giant wave measuring 78 feet from trough to crest. In January 2013, McNamara returned to Nazare and broke his own record by successfully riding a wave that was estimated to be 100 feet tall. Later in October the same year, Brazilian big-wave hero Carlos Burle rode a wave that appeared to be even bigger. Nazaré on the Atlantic coast has now become a legendary spot in the world of big wave surfing.

full article a cool photos at:Amusing Planet















Almost 600 Suicides Could Be Related To DWP Work Assessments, Claims New Research


Almost 600 “additional” suicides could be related to the Government’s Work Capability Assessments, according to research published today.

A study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health claims the areas of England with the greatest use of the assessments has also seen the sharpest rise in reported suicides, mental health issues, and antidepressant prescribing.

The report says the assessments may be having “serious adverse consequences for mental health” and even suggested doctors involved in the process could face “ethical issues” in continuing with the tests.

The Department for Work and Pensions, which operates the policy, described the report as “wholly misleading” and pointed out even the authors recognised no conclusions can be drawn about the assessments and the suicide rates.

The report, which was led by Dr Benjamin Barr from the Department of Public Health and Policy, from the University of Liverpool, reads: “Our study provides evidence that the policy in England of reassessing the eligibility of [disability] benefit recipients using the WCA (Work Capability Assessment) may have unintended but serious consequences for population mental health, and there is a danger that these adverse effects outweigh any benefits that may or may not arise from moving people off disability benefits.

full article over at The Huffington Post








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